Legen…wait for it….t? Legent? Okay, so it’s got a weird name, so what? We’re only concerned with the matter of taste here, so let’s dive in and see just what we have.
Legent is a special release from Jim Beam in collaboration with Suntory. The premise is that it’s a blend of Eastern and Western whisk(e)y philosophies. The traditional, rustic Beam bourbon by Fred Noe that we all love, masterfully blended by Suntory’s chief blender Shinji Fukuyo. Some of the bourbon was aged in ex-Sherry and French Oak wine casks then blended with the original bourbon. The result is Legent, a 94 proof NAS bourbon. “But how is it classified as a bourbon when it’s a blend of straight bourbon and finished bourbon?” you might be asking. Beats me, ask the TTB.
So how is it? Let me first say that I have had this bottle for a couple months now and when I first opened it, I wasn’t really impressed. It was reminiscent of your typical Jim Beam product; strong notes of peanut and oak, vanilla and caramel. It was all there, but that was about it. However, now that I’m revisiting it, it’s really seemed to open up and have a life of its own. The nose is sweet with oak and vanilla. There’s just a minor hint of raisin and dark fruit. The palate is actually quite nice as well. It starts out with your typical bourbon characteristics of oak and vanilla and some of the Beam peanut, but as it rests on the palate, it becomes more. There’s a subtle fruit note that cuts through the traditional bourbon notes that reminds me a bit of a sherried Scotch. The finish is long, warm and fruity and balances quite well with the oaky bourbon.
I had pretty much written this one off after the first pour. The second pour a few months later however may have changed my mind. While this isn’t the best bourbon by any stretch, it is interesting to see what the effects of tasteful blending can do and goes to show that there’s a lot that can be done in the bourbon world that hasn’t really been explored. Also, something to keep in mind is the price point. I paid $36.99 for this bottle and it’s relatively easy to acquire for a special release. As a consumer, I appreciate that Beam has given us a new special release that’s affordable and in large enough quantities that stores aren’t trying to jack the prices due to limited availability. I feel like this bourbon deserves a try at its price point, but if it were any higher, I probably would have passed on it. The bottle helps it stand out on the shelf though as it is rather unique looking and has a nice large wooden stopper. It’s an interesting pour for sure and if you have the opportunity to try it , go for it. If you’re looking for something familiar yet different, buy a bottle and see what you think. I’m interested to see if this bottle continues to get better over time or if this is as good as it gets. I guess only time will tell. Until then, cheers!